Blind Faith: Our Misplaced Trust in the Stock Market and by Edward Winslow

By Edward Winslow

- Over forty percentage of families personal a few kind of universal stock

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Extra resources for Blind Faith: Our Misplaced Trust in the Stock Market and Smarter, Safer Ways to Invest

Sample text

Day trading firms provide computer terminals and sophisticated software to track stock prices via dedicated-line access to the market. Only a few years prior, this type of system was limited to brokerage firms. Today, anyone can become a day trader. In August 1999 Time magazine published an article entitled “Day Trading: It’s a Brutal World,” which estimated that the number of folks who quit their jobs to become full-time day traders was about 5,000. But if you add those who trade online at home or between meetings at the office, there are as many as 5 million.

Logically, each publicly traded company is producing the same product and service as it was just minutes before the news, but the reaction of the investor is irrationally euphoric or catastrophically morose. Internet technology has made it too convenient for investors to make rash decisions based upon their emotional reactions. 15 Le Bon’s book was inspired by the political and social turmoil of his times. He asserted that the crowd was not driven by rational argument but by its spinal cord. It responded solely to emotional appeals and was incapable of thought or reason.

Stocks and mutual funds don’t match Webster’s definition of investment. The description would have to be tweaked to include the disclaimer that your dollar does indeed offer the potential for profit—even great profit—but only at a high risk of loss. If there is a possibility of losing money, we are talking speculation, not investment. There are no guarantees that stocks will offer profitable returns in the future—even in the long run. It only takes one gigantic loss to collapse a dream. Many ordinary Americans trusted Enron with their retirement dreams.

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